With less than two months until Election Day, members of the Meredith community are working to increase civic participation on campus. Meredith Votes is a class with five Meredith students. Dr. David McLennan, a professor in the Political Science department and the head of the program, stated, “The purpose of Meredith Votes is to encourage Meredith students to use prior knowledge from a political class in real-world politics. For the Meredith Community, [we] encourage [them] to educate themselves on politicians and to go out and vote."
One barrier to voting is the access to vote in person due to the distance from one’s polling location. This year, Meredith will have Election Day off. Dr. McLennan explained that “Meredith students have had a higher turnout for voting compared to other colleges in 2020. Most [Meredith] students have voted by either an absentee ballot or even during early voting.” Dr. McLennan believes that “not holding classes might make it easier for some students who like to vote in person on Election Day, but having the day free from classes is an important statement that Meredith thinks voting is important.”
According to Meredith Poll’s 2022 survey of North Carolina voters, only 78% of North Carolinas indicated an interest in voting. When Dr. McLennan was asked if placing Meredith Votes would increase that number, he said, “I am confident that Meredith students will vote at a higher rate this year.”
Meredith Votes has encouraged students through voter registration drives. The last event was held on Sept. 7 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Belk Dining Hall. “Meredith Votes has also been interacting with the first-year students through going into [First Year Experience] classes and educating about the process of voter registration and voting,” he said.
Some of the following steps for Meredith Votes is their major registration event. Through collaboration between the History and Politics Club, Meredith College Democrats and other organizations, the event will be held on Sept. 20 for National Voter Registration Day. Dr. McLennan said that the class is also creating a “Meredith Votes Voter Guide” for the community with information about candidates and electoral races.
For those interested in learning more about Meredith Votes events and information, you can follow them on Instagram at @meredith_votes. Anyone who wants to volunteer at voter registration events and organize walks to the polls can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
By Camila Cardoso-Herrera, Contributing Writer